Information for the HMS community
IMPORTANT CAMPUS UPDATE: Jan. 5, 2021
In an email on Jan. 4, 2022, Harvard University a outlined important COVID updates. Members of the HMS community are strongly encouraged to read and familiarize themselves with the information detailed in that message, as it includes an announcement on winter/spring plans and changes to Harvard guidelines and policies.
The highly transmissible omicron variant is driving a huge spike in infections, regionally and worldwide. Fortunately, we now have more tools available and are in a better place than earlier in the pandemic. Our HMS community is highly vaccinated and boosted, and even though the number of individuals testing positive for COVID is rising, most are experiencing mild symptoms. Statewide, the vast majority of patients who end up in the ICU are unvaccinated. Across HMS, we need to remain vigilant as individuals and stay committed to the safety of our community.
Most notably, we want to call your attention to the following, which includes specifics for HMS:
- Booster requirement: All members of the Harvard community are required to obtain a booster shot. The deadline to receive and verify your COVID-19 booster is Jan. 31. If you are not yet eligible to receive the booster, your deadline will be 30 days after you become eligible. Visit the University’s vaccine and booster information webpage for more information, including resources for scheduling and verifying your booster.
- Pre-arrival testing requirements: Those returning to campus after any period of time away should review the University’s updated testing protocols to ensure you have sufficient lead time to comply with your designated pre- and post-arrival testing requirements. If you are currently outside of the Boston/Cambridge area, please get tested prior to your return to ensure you are not putting others at risk of infection while in transit. Refer to the HMS Testing Guide for detailed information for our local community.
- Classroom-based courses: Those classroom-based medical and graduate education programs that shifted to online formats for the first three weeks of January will resume in classroom starting Monday, Jan. 24. Students in these courses should expect to hear from their course/program leaders soon so they can plan accordingly.
- On-campus activities: We continue to ask that department and unit leaders strongly consider shifting any work and meetings that can be done remotely to a Zoom platform during the first few weeks of January. We anticipate that on-campus activities will resume starting Jan. 24, with persistent adherence to masking and weekly testing protocols. The University also recommends physical distancing when unmasking, for instance, when eating or drinking in designated dining areas.
- Flexwork decisions: We recognize that some units that are not required to be on campus are considering delaying their transition to on-campus presence to March or beyond. We fully support the decisions made by local department/unit leaders, who are considering their unique business needs and balancing the benefits and risks of various scenarios and plans for their staff amid an extremely fluid situation.
As omicron continues to surge, the most critical thing each of us can do to reduce viral transmission is practice healthy habits and behaviors. By masking, distancing, minimizing contact, and testing regularly, we can maintain a safe academic, research, and work environment. Doing so will also help us preserve and protect the health and safety of our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable to complications from the virus.
Vaccine & Information & Verification
The deadline to receive and verify your COVID-19 booster is Jan. 31, 2022. Click here for the current COVID-19 vaccine information from Harvard University, including the vaccine and booster requirement, vaccination rate, resources for planning and scheduling your vaccine and booster, and verifying your vaccine and booster.
For questions about Harvard’s COVID-19 vaccine and booster requirement, click here to access the FAQs from Harvard University Health Services.
Testing & Tracing
Regular COVID-19 testing is a key part of Harvard’s collective efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, limit further mutation, and ensure that the safety protocols we’ve established are meeting their intended goals. The University’s testing plan is subject to modification based on community risk and the broader public health environment.
All Harvard affiliates with any on-campus presence are required to test at their assigned cadence. Testing cadences are determined by several factors, including your vaccination status, whether you live on or off campus, and infection rates in the local community.
Access the HMS Testing Guide for details and step-by-step instructions on testing eligibility, frequency, creating a Color account, obtaining a test, administering a test, dropping off a test, and testing compliance.
Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) has established processes for case investigation and contact tracing. The primary goals of viral testing are to identify infected individuals as early as possible, isolate them from the broader community, and minimize the spread of the virus. If an individual tests positive, HUHS will begin contact tracing for the greater Harvard community. Anyone with known exposure to a positive case will be expected to work with our contact tracing team.
Please note that the HUHS Contact Tracing Team is currently experiencing a very high volume of calls and emails due to the rapid increase in new daily cases driven by the Omicron variant. Follow up times are taking longer than usual. Please do not call or email repeatedly. Thank you for your patience.
Isolation & Quarantine
Isolation and quarantine are ways to keep healthy individuals separated from individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been identified as close contacts who have tested positive. Harvard continues to update its protocols to align with the guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Visit Harvard University’s Quarantine and Isolation webpage for the current protocols, including when and how to isolate and quarantine.
Before coming to campus each day, assess your health. If you are feeling well, you do not need to complete Crimson Clear but please follow the Return to Campus Checklist detailed below. If you are not feeling well or are unsure, stay home, let your manager know, answer the questions on Crimson Clear, and HUHS will contact you if you are not cleared to come to campus.
Each member of the Harvard community can find their updated testing cadence requirement by logging into Crimson Clear.
For International Students & Scholars
For the latest guidance, visit the Harvard International Office’s COVID-19 FAQ for International Students and Scholars. The FAQ addresses general travel and visa concerns, student issues, work authorization applications, and more.
Return to Campus Checklist
Prior to Coming to Campus (one-time preparation)
- Review the COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training on the Environmental Health and Safety website that describes important things for you to be aware of pertaining to COVID safety on campus. Also review the University Coronavirus information page and FAQs.
- Create your Color account which will be used for COVID testing (assumes local department has set-up staff member as eligible for testing)
- Take the Self-Administration of COVID-19 Test training on the Harvard Training Portal
Health & Well-being
Your mental health is important for your overall health and well-being. Here are some available resources:
- Watch the HMS Coping with Coronavirus web series for help dealing with daily stress, anxiety, and a range of other emotions
- Reach out to the Ombuds Office, which is available to support HMS, HSDM, and Harvard Chan School faculty, staff, students, and trainees, as well as affiliate institution appointees, with any issue impacting work or studies, including concerns surrounding COVID-19. Ombuds Melissa Brodrick and Justin Neiman are available for Zoom, phone, and Skype appointments. Call 617-432-4041 or email Robin Cheung.
- Review the Harvard University Health Services guide to help manage fear and anxiety.
- Participate in webinars and remote workshops offered by the Harvard Longwood Campus Office of Employee Development and Wellness.
- Access the free Coronavirus Sanity Guide, including meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks offered by Ten Percent Happier.
Additional University Health & Wellness Resources
Manage Fear & Anxiety
Counseling & Mental Health Services
Harvard University Health Services
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Harvard Center for Wellness & Health Promotion
Cope with Stress
Masks & Face Coverings
Harvard University continues to require masks and face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Eating indoors is permitted only in designated locations. Six-foot distancing is required, and masks may be removed only when actively eating. Masks and face coverings are no longer required outdoors for those who have been fully vaccinated. For those not fully vaccinated, masks are required outdoors for those who cannot maintain a 6-foot distance from others.
All community members should carry a mask when coming to campus in the event it becomes necessary to wear it. Individuals may also choose to wear masks in settings where masks are not required.
Effective July 15, 2021, the University will no longer require that vaccinated persons observe physical distance requirements, either indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated persons are still required to maintain physical distancing indoors. As more of our campus community become fully vaccinated, we expect that we will be able to further relax restrictions, including revisiting the indoor mask policy, which remains in place for everyone regardless of vaccination status.
Events & Gatherings
Effective July 15, 2021, Harvard will no longer require vaccinated individuals to observe physical distance requirements, either indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated individuals are still required to maintain physical distancing indoors. Please note that masks remain required indoors regardless of vaccination status.
- For indoor HMS-sponsored events/gatherings without food: Attendance is permitted based on the maximum space occupancy. Face coverings are required. Six-foot distancing is required only for those who are unvaccinated.
- For indoor HMS-sponsored events/gatherings with food: Attendance is limited to 100. Face coverings are required. Six-foot distancing is required for those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated individuals are required to distance only when removing their masks to eat indoors.
- For indoor events/gatherings not sponsored by HMS: Attendance is limited to 20, and no food is permitted. Face coverings are required. Six-foot distancing is required only for those who are unvaccinated.
- For outdoor HMS-sponsored events/gatherings without food: Attendance is permitted based on the maximum space occupancy. Face coverings are not required. Six-foot distancing is required only for those who are unvaccinated.
- For outdoor HMS-sponsored events/gatherings with food: Attendance is limited to 100. Face coverings are not required. Six-foot distancing is required only for those who are unvaccinated.
- For outdoor events/gatherings not sponsored by HMS: Attendance is limited to 20, and no food is permitted. Face coverings and 6-foot distancing are required.
Schools/units and program coordinators planning off campus events of any duration, must plan and communicate the procedure in place and expectations for participants that become symptomatic or test positive during their off-campus travel or event. This should include information such as where the participants will complete their isolation, how services including food will be handled, travel plans, and cost considerations.
Events and Gatherings: 2021 Holiday & Year-End
As winter break approaches and schools, units, and departments plan holiday and year-end events and gatherings, the following should be considered:
- All minimum requirements for on-campus activity must be followed. Schools and units may institute more restrictive requirements to address their local needs or unique risk factors; requests for HMS-affiliated events and gatherings must be forwarded to the Space/Occupancy Review Team (SORT) via email@example.com.
- Indoor, off-campus/non-sponsored social gatherings that include unmasked activities continue to be identified as a common source of exposure and positive case clusters. See above Events and Gatherings: Indoors for more information about non-sponsored events.
- During periods of high viral transmission, increasing positive cases or clusters, and/or specific recommendations from HUHS, local policies for events may need to be adjusted.
- Plan events that do not include eating or drinking or offer to-go options at the conclusion of the event.
- Minimize unmasking activity by:
- Limiting time for eating and drinking.
- Assigning seats to limit close contacts while unmasked for eating and drinking.
- Encouraging guests to have completed Color tests within 72 hours of the event (this may require an additional test beyond their normal testing cadence).
- Reminding guests to only remove masks when actively eating and drinking and while stationary to avoid unmasked mingling among guests.
- Providing physically distanced seating options for guests that need or choose to remain distanced while unmasking for eating and drinking.
- Reducing the number of attendees by breaking event into smaller subsets of the school/unit or department.
Official Visitors (HMS-Sponsored)
Official visitors come to campus via HMS-sponsored activities and may include visiting scholars, speakers, VIPs, students from other academic institutions, families and guests of HMS students, alumni, and human subjects participating in research.
- Official visitors who will have short-term or limited access on campus; typically on campus for seven cumulative days or less:
- Are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test on the day of arrival through a local clinic or pharmacy at their own expense if traveling from out of state.
- Assuming they have no COVID-19 symptoms and no known exposure to an infected person, it is okay that they participate in in-person activities if following appropriate masking policies.
- Unvaccinated travelers from international points of departure should test again on day four or day five (in addition to their arrival date) and must avoid close, unmasked social activities, including social gatherings and dining with other unvaccinated people, until a negative result is received for the arrival test. Keep documentation of any COVID-19 tests readily available in the event of an exposure or other public health need.
- Official visitors that will be on campus for an extended period or whom have frequent, extended, or close interaction with Harvard community members during their visit or program; typically on campus for more than seven consecutive days:
- Follow the Harvard University post-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine policy.
- Be added to HMS’s system as a Person of Interest (POI) and issued a temporary Harvard ID number if not already part of Harvard’s system. This is the responsibility of the sponsoring HMS department.
- Enroll in the Harvard University testing program. This is the responsibility of the sponsoring department.
- Communicate their vaccination status for the purposes of determining testing frequency and other safety requirements and keep documentation of vaccination readily
Individuals who are not members of the HMS community and are not an official visitor as detailed below. Individuals who come to campus to visit, engage in Harvard-sponsored events, engage in Harvard events open to the general public, or attend exhibits.
- All official visitors must be informed and abide by current University policies. COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training: Protection/Prevention Practices provides current guidance and safety practices.
- Official visitors must be notified that Harvard has a vaccination requirement and that they should plan to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus.
Schools/units may require official visitors to attest to their compliance with vaccine requirements prior to or upon arrival to campus.
- Visitors must not come to campus if they are exhibiting symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have otherwise been instructed to quarantine or isolate.
- Visitors are not allowed in Vanderbilt residence. No room or lounge can have more than 10 residents at any time.
- All visitors are expected to report a positive COVID-19 test result or clinician diagnosis to HUHS via email immediately if they have been on campus within 48 hours of symptom onset or receive a positive COVID-19 test result.
- Official visitors who will have short-term or limited access on campus; typically on campus for seven cumulative days or less:
HMS Dining is proud to provide a wide variety of culinary options in our campus cafes! We look forward to seeing you soon.
Visit our website to learn more and find our daily menus.
Elements Café in the New Research Building is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. for continuous service. Deli, grill, and daily specials, along with grab-and-go snacks, salads, fresh fruit, drinks, coffee, and more. Specific hours are as follows:
- 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Breakfast
- 11:30 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Lunch
- Open till 3 p.m. for snacks
Aliquots Café in the New Research Building is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. for continuous service, featuring grab-and-go breakfast, snacks, lunch, and your favorite espresso beverages.
Courtyard Café in the Warren Alpert Building is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. for continuous service, featuring a deli, daily specials, grab-and-go snacks, salads, drinks, fresh fruit, coffee, and more. Specific hours are as follows:
- 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Breakfast
- 11:30 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Lunch
- Open till 3 p.m. for snacks
Expanded outdoor seating is now available.
Mobile ordering is available through THRIVE: Good Food Fast. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play for quick and contact-free ordering. With Thrive App you can:
- Order ahead from where you work and skip the line
- Limit contact by using the mobile checkout
- Choose from the Deli at Courtyard Café and the Deli and Grill at Elements Café
- Order your favorite coffee ahead of time at Aliquots Café
Atrium Cafe in TMEC is open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 2:00pm for continuous service, featuring grab n go breakfast and lunch options along with your favorite bottled beverages, coffee, snacks and more!
- 7:30 am - 10:30 am Breakfast
- 11:30am-1:30pm Lunch
- Open till 2:00pm for snacks
Monthly Parking Options
Please note that the monthly rates listed below will increase on September 1, 2021.
- Monthly Permit: $319.00 per month (24/7 monthly permit holders can access their assigned garage or space 24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
- 4-day Permit*: $255.00 per month (4 days of parking per week)
- 3-day Permit*: $191.40 per month (3 days of parking per week)
- 2-day Permit*: $127.60 per month (2 days of parking per week)
*Note: 2-day, 3-day, and 4-day parking options are programmed for specific days of the week on parkers’ IDs. Please contact the HMS Commuter Service and Parking Office to discuss alternative days.
- If you select one of these monthly options, we strongly recommend using payroll deduction either quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. This will allow you to reduce the cost of your permit by up to 35 percent because the cost will be subtracted from your gross earnings before taxes are applied. The pre-tax limit is $270.00 per month.
Daily Parking Options on Campus
Please note that the daily rates listed below will increase on April 1, 2022.
- Online daily parking permit (1 full day of parking, weekdays, purchased online via debit or credit card): $18.00/day (temporarily reduced from $25/day, Monday through Friday)
- Reserved daily parking pass (1 day of parking, reserved online and billed internally via 33-digit code): $18.00/day (temporarily reduced from $25/day, Monday through Friday)
- Discounted $10 on-campus afternoon parking (weekdays from 2 p.m. until midnight) in the NRB or Quad garage, with details as follows:
- Prior to coming to campus, parkers must go online to the HU Daily Parking Permit System to purchase their daily permit.
- Choose the location noting HU NRB or Quad Garage option specific to after 2 p.m., $10 weekday rate.
- Follow the instructions to make your reservation and process your debit or credit card payment.
- Print the parking permit and present it to the garage attendant upon arrival at the garage.
- Parkers using this option must arrive after 2 p.m. and before 7 p.m. (so the attendant can provide the parking card).
- All daily parking cards expire at midnight.
- After-hour parking permits are available to HLC employees at the cost of $170 per year (will increase to $175 per year on Sept. 1, 2021)
- The after-hour parker’s Harvard ID is valid at an assigned garage between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Friday and all day on weekends and Harvard holidays.
For parking-related questions, please contact the HMS Commuter Services and Parking Office.
Reset Your Commute
As we continue returning to our campus and workplaces, our commutes may still not look like the pre-pandemic normal. CommuteWorks, a MASCO service, offers some tips for getting back to the LMA.
- Find more comfortable walking routes in your area at Walk Boston.
- If you don't have a bike, Bluebikes is a great option.
- Try public transit a few days a week to ease back into your commuting routine.
- All inbound trains now stop at Ruggles and JFK/UMass. See the new commuter rail schedules.
- Commute at off-peak times if schedule allows to avoid crowding.
- Use MBTA-endorsed transit apps to see real-time crowdsourced information for bus and Red/Orange/Blue lines.
- 5-Day Flex Pass: The 5-day Flex Pass is a pandemic pilot product on the mTicket app that provided five days of Commuter Rail travel within a 30-day period at a 10% discount compared to five round-trip tickets. This pandemic pilot provided an additional option for riders with in-person work schedules limited by the pandemic. With the Commonwealth’s state of emergency ending on June 15, the 5-day Flex Pass Pilot will end three months later, on Sept. 15. The Flex Pass will no longer be available for purchase on mTicket after Sept. 15, though Flex Passes purchased before that date will continue to be valid until they are used or expire.
- Commuter Rail Fare Expiration Extension: Commuter Rail customers may travel with unused, expired, paper One-Way, Round-Trip, and 10-Ride tickets that were valid on March 10, 2020, onboard between June 15, 2021, and Sept. 15, 2021. Unused mTickets that were valid on March 10, 2020, will also be reissued a final time on Sunday, June 20, 2021, with an expiration of Sept. 15. Customers do not need to take any action – the MBTA will automatically push new mTickets to customers’ apps for use until Sept. 15.
- Ruggles Station Reopening: Ruggles Station has reopened, with a new commuter rail platform allowing an increase in commuter rail trains stopping at Ruggles Station. All inbound trains on the Providence/Stoughton, Needham, and Franklin lines will now stop at Ruggles (rather than backtracking to South Station or Back Bay stations).
MBTA Summer 2021 Service Changes
- The MBTA is adding back service across the system to support increased travel across the region. To see how these changes will impact your commute, please visit the MBTA Summer 2021 Service Changes webpage.
- Please share your MBTA commuting experience by completing this comment card https://www.masco.org/moving-around-the-lma/mbta-service-feedback.
- MASCO shuttles As of July 6, 2021:
- All seats will be available for passengers on MASCO vehicles. Passengers will be allowed to stand when possible.
- Masks will continue to be required for passengers and drivers while on MASCO vehicles. No eating or drinking is allowed.
- Please refer to the MASCO website for details on mask wearing, cleaning, and disinfecting protocols, physical distancing measures, and other advisories.
The HMS community has successfully adapted to and identified a continued desire for flexibility in where and how we work. Therefore, as we transition toward spring 2022, the Flexwork Initiative Committee recommends the further piloting of flexwork models with sustained program oversight to track community feedback and to structure and refine our practices that support longer-term opportunities for flexwork at HMS. Additional opportunities will be offered in the coming months to share your feedback on the status of hybrid and remote work. Visit the HMS Flexwork Pilot webpage for more information.
HMS recognizes and appreciates that some units that are not required to be on campus are considering further delaying their transition to on-campus presence to March 2022 or beyond. Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean for Administration Lisa M. Muto have said that they fully support the decisions made by local department/unit leaders, who are considering their business needs and balancing the benefits and risks of various scenarios and plans for their staff amid an extremely fluid situation. As always, our Human Resources team is available to discuss and provide guidance.
Please note that staff members will be required to follow their unit’s defined plans. Employees who would like to request other forms of flexwork based on their role or schedule should complete the Flexible Work Arrangement Documentation form and submit it to their supervisor for review.
Testing & Vaccination
Is COVID-19 testing still required?
- To help keep Harvard healthy, the University continues to require viral testing for all community members who are authorized to have any on-campus presence. Testing requirements vary based on your vaccination status and whether you live on campus. Please note that Harvard’s testing plan is subject to modification if the public health situation indicates changes in community risk.
- All community members, including those fully vaccinated, are expected to follow their required testing cadences. Access the HMS Testing Guide for details and step-by-step instructions on testing eligibility, frequency, creating a Color account, obtaining a test, administering a test, dropping off a test, and testing compliance.
Are members of the Harvard community required to be vaccinated?
- Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) announced on June 16, 2021, that all Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence are now required to provide verification of COVID vaccination to HUHS by July 15, 2021.
- A high vaccination rate across our community is critical as we continue to consider health and safety guidance and requirements for the fall semester. As we are able to confirm a high vaccination rate, we anticipate being in a position to further ease or lift some requirements, such as indoor masking and distancing.
Where can I get vaccinated?
- HUHS is holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics each week through the end of August. Vaccine appointments are open to all students, staff, faculty, researchers, and HUHS patients, and can be scheduled through the HUHS Patient Portal.
- For international students and others who may not currently have access to a vaccine, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival to campus. Please note, however, that you may be subject to additional requirements, such as more frequent testing, until you are considered fully vaccinated.
- We strongly encourage you to seek vaccine from all available sources, including state-run vaccination sites, your primary care physician, community-based sites, and pharmacies.
- If you are currently outside of the United States, please check with your country’s public health agency.
- For additional information on planning for your vaccine, visit the Harvard vaccine information webpage.
How do I request an exemption to the vaccine requirement?
- Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students claiming an exemption should complete the Student Vaccine Exemption Form. Faculty, staff, and researchers wishing to claim an exemption to the vaccine requirement will be able to do so starting in July. Please check the Verify Your Vaccination webpage in July for the process for claiming an exemption.
- Unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals.
- For additional information, please visit the HUHS COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement FAQs.
Is Harvard monitoring vaccination status?
- If you have not yet submitted your vaccine information, there is an updated process using your HarvardKey to access the HUHS Patient Portal. This process is available to all Harvard students, staff, faculty, and researchers, even if you are not an HUHS patient.
- Instructions for submitting are available on the Verify Your Vaccination webpage.
- If you have already submitted your vaccine card to HUHS through email or Accellion Kiteworks, you do not need to resubmit it. Additionally, if you received your vaccination through HUHS, you do not need to submit any information, as HUHS already has your information on file. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential.
When will dry labs reopen?
- The Department of Biomedical Informatics returned to its space in Countway Library in spring 2021. Planning for the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and the Department of Health Care Policy will commence in summer 2021 for their expected return in late summer or early fall 2021. For on-campus quiet work space for dry science programs, individuals should contact their department administrators for availability.
When will administrative staff return to campus?
- Department and unit leaders will apply HMS-specific flexwork models to their teams equitably, without bias, and based on their unique business needs, the operational needs of the School, and the nature and duties of an individual’s role and job requirements as part of their team.
- Department and unit leaders are now in the process of finalizing their flexwork pilot plans and will determine the exact start date for this phase, which, for most, will be in or before October 2021.
- You should expect to hear details from them or from your supervisor soon if you have not already. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor directly. Once finalized by department/unit leaders, flexwork pilot plans will be collected and tracked by HMS Human Resources and by Campus Planning and Facilities for campus-planning purposes. Please note that the approval process is managed at the local leadership department/unit level for this pilot phase.
Health & Safety
How do I know it’s safe to come back into the office?
- As Harvard brings more people back to campus, the Harvard community’s health and safety will remain the top priority. Throughout the University, the required health and safety standards have drawn on governmental guidelines, scientific evidence, and expertise in Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), which are reviewed and updated regularly.
- You can learn about these health and safety protocols by reviewing Keep Harvard Healthy and the Harvard public online testing dashboard, which has updated information from our regular campus testing. Information is posted throughout Harvard buildings and workspaces to remind everyone of the required protocols.
- In addition, the HMS COVID-19 Advisory Team will continue to monitor the School’s safety reporting process, address concerns and issues of noncompliance, and support the designated COVID-19 Safety Officers in our research, education, and administrative departments. As a reminder, issues of noncompliance should be addressed at the department level. Those that cannot be addressed at the department level can be submitted anonymously via HMS’ online reporting form (must be logged in to VPN).
- If you have health conditions that may affect your ability to return to work on campus, please consult with your local HR office to see if a reasonable accommodation or temporary job modification (such as a change of schedule, location, or duties) could be made.
Will physical distancing guidelines, air exchange rates, etc. be adapted as more people transition back to campus?
- Our continued transition back to campus has been done in phases to help keep everyone safe, comply with state and University guidelines, manage our finite resources, and accommodate the many complex and concurrent moving pieces. This includes everything from refreshing HVAC systems, flushing potable water lines, and reviewing environmental health and safety protocols to assessing IT needs, determining room capacities, and aligning facilities, custodial, and other campus services.
What measures are in place to ensure compliance with COVID safety protocols?
- Our COVID-19 Advisory Team will continue to monitor the School’s safety reporting process, address concerns and issues of noncompliance, and support the designated COVID-19 Safety Officers in our research, education, and administrative departments. As a reminder, issues of noncompliance should be addressed at the department level. Those that cannot be addressed at the department level can be submitted anonymously via HMS’ online reporting form (must be logged in to VPN).
Space & Campus Planning
Will my department/unit return to the same designated space we had prior to the pandemic?
- Yes, you should expect to return to the same designated space you had pre-pandemic unless you hear otherwise from your manager or department/unit leader.
Are there plans to shrink HMS’ overall footprint? If so, how will this affect leased spaces?
- Enabling the efficient use of space is one of the guiding principles of our HMS Remote/Flexwork Initiative, along with formalizing flexibility, enhancing work-life balance, establishing best practices, redefining culture norms, and supporting the HMS mission. These guiding principles are driving our focus group discussions and ultimately will help steer recommendations for the future vision of remote work at HMS.
- Many units are already thinking about reducing their footprints on campus. We will continue these conversations toward building a comprehensive plan, but this will be a longer-term strategy and will not happen in the course of the next few months. Therefore, you should expect to return to the same designated space you had pre-pandemic unless you hear otherwise from your manager or department/unit leader.
What if I am not comfortable returning to campus?
- If you have questions or concerns about your department’s or unit’s return-to-work plans, please reach out to your supervisor or to your Human Resources contact.
- Harvard University implements exploration of possible workplace reasonable accommodations for faculty and staff with disabilities who request them under the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act or other applicable disability law. Individuals wishing to initiate the interactive reasonable accommodation process or receive further information should contact their Human Resources contact and/or Leave of Absence Specialist.
- Should you experience anxiety, you can find health and well-being resources on the Harvard coronavirus and HMS Returning to Campus websites.
What if my manager says I have to return to work on campus?
- Employees who wish to request adjustments to their schedules or work location should connect first with their supervisor and then local HR to discuss their situation.
- In addition, Harvard’s flexwork guidelines have been updated to acknowledge this transitional period. Employees may consult these guidelines to complete a Flexible Work Arrangement Documentation form and submit it to their supervisor for review and to document the outcome. HUCTW members may also refer to Article VI, Flexibility in the HUCTW contract for more information.
If I moved out of state, when will I be required to move back?
- The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many employees in a variety of ways, and we understand many may still be experiencing fear, anxiety, and stress, as well as evaluating decisions related to how and where they work. Our continued expansion of campus access will be done in phases to help keep everyone safe, comply with state and University guidelines, manage our finite resources, and accommodate the many complex, concurrent, and interdependent moving pieces.
- It is important for employees to continue to stay up to date on current payroll processing during the COVID-19 public health emergency as it relates to their specific situation. Therefore, we recommend staying in communication with your manager and HR consultant. At this point, the Massachusetts state of emergency has been lifted, and employees will need to return to a campus work location or work predominantly in a Harvard-registered state in order to remain on Harvard payroll and retain related benefits. Harvard is continuing the plan to register in, withhold taxes, and provide benefits in other New England states, Maryland, and New York. Employees will be notified in July 2021 regarding next steps for any changes to their income tax withholdings based on the states where they will be working.
- Those employees who do not return to a campus work location or continue their work predominantly in a Harvard-registered state may be moved to a third-party payroll provider, dependent on business needs. Harvard will communicate next steps to employees when the public health emergency has been lifted based upon their home address on file with the University. The assumption during the public health emergency is that the home address in PeopleSoft reflects the location (state/country) where employees working remotely are working the majority of their time.
- Individuals who left the United States voluntarily or due to the COVID-19 public health emergency—even with the expectation of returning to Massachusetts after the emergency—should return to the United States (or one of the states where Harvard has an established payroll), take an unpaid leave of absence, or be transitioned to a Harvard-affiliated office, local partner, or professional employer organization.
Can we hire employees who live out of state?
- New employees working in a Harvard registered state the may be hired on the Harvard U.S. PeopleSoft payroll.
- If the job was always intended to be off-campus, outside of Harvard registered states, then the individual should not be put on the Harvard U.S. payroll but instead should be hired through a payrolling agency or other appropriate external payroll entity (e.g., Yoh/AllSource or an individual’s home institution).
- Individuals being paid with sponsored funding may have additional restrictions around working outside of the United States as well as what may be charged to the award. See Guidance Regarding Individuals Outside the United States Being Paid with Sponsored Funding.
- Hiring Managers should check with their Human Resources contact prior to communicating with candidates as there may be changes.
Please refer to the HMS Flexwork Pilot website for answers to additional FAQs.